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Documentary exploring the role of women chefs in a changing industry, with a look into a single mom's 25-year journey as a restaurateur
Documentary exploring the role of women chefs in a changing industry, with a look into a single mom's 25-year journey as a restaurateur
123 backers pledged $60,722 to help bring this project to life.

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"It is less likely for a woman to become a Chef today than a CEO."                                                                      Bloomberg News,                                          Based on statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor

Women have made historic strides in the workforce over the last few decades. We've  had multiple female Secretary of States, a record number of female CEOs of Fortune 500 companies and international superstars, with the likes of Beyonce and her declaration: "Girls Rule the World."

However, the landscape isn't all rosy.

Even with all the progress, the gender inequality gap is still a startling reality across industries, especially those typically dominated by men. For instance, women CEO's of the S&P 500 Companies make up a mere 4.8%   

  • 19% Women in Engineering 
  • 20% Congressional Seats held by Women 
  • 25% Women in Computing Technologies

One of the more striking male dominated industries, where the inequality gap is perhaps the MOST PREVALENT, is within the CULINARY world.   

15% of Executive Chefs are Women

A stark irony when compared to the longstanding tradition within households — across cultures — where women have always been the central character in the kitchen. 

Yet the transition from household to professional kitchen has been painfully lacking. Why? 

That is what our documentary intends to explore.

We'll examine the roadblocks and circumstances that are keeping women from (wo)manning the great restaurant kitchens of today. We'll look into why there isn't a single U.S. female top Michelin Star Chef. Or why today's all-time high female enrollment at culinary schools across the country has yet to have an impact on the staggering gender gap at the executive chef level.

To shed light on these topics we will spotlight the most renowned women chefs and restaurateurs from across the country, and get their perspectives on the current state of women in the culinary world and what the future can look like. 

Our documentary will focus on the story of a woman who represents what is in fact possible, a woman who has challenged the imbalance and shattered perceptions and roles. She embodies the classic American story — the self-made successful underdog, chef and restaurateur Valerie James. 

Most fondly known as Val, she's a single mother who pursued her dream of opening and running her own restaurant, even with all the cards stacked against her.  

These shared experiences can collectively motivate a new generation of women to follow in their culinary calling. 

The heat is on. Help us get cooking!

 

Director, Joanna James:

“I really enjoyed watching many of the food docs that have been flooding the market over the last couple years, but I noticed that not one featured any women restaurateurs or chefs. I think of how I was raised by strong women who were so loving and nurturing —the greatest role models teaching me to do what I love and give it my all. By providing more media and film exposure on women in the culinary industry, we're teaching young women they too can make a career out of their talent and passion instead of holding back. A homemade meal has always brought my family together whether at the restaurant sitting at booth 5, or at home for the holidays — and with this documentary we hope to unite even more people around good food prepared by courageous women.”

Joanna has combined her love for journalism and food into making a feature length documentary on topics worth exploring, women she admires, in particularly her very own mother whom she is so proud to travel this film making process with. Additionally, Joanna holds a Master's Degree in International Communication and Media with a focus on film production from Lynn University. After graduation, Joanna worked in various capacities of production, writing and development. Joanna is co-founder of Aliana Productions, an independent film, television and multimedia productions company out of New York City.  

 

Executive Producer, Anastasia Ganias:

"I am just so exhilarated by the group of tastemakers we have interviewed so far and all the other ridiculously talented lady chefs we are including in this spectacular piece. I learned everything I know about cooking and  conscious food choices from many special woman in my life who's recipes and food philosophies go way, way back-- in my culture hospitality is seen as both a pleasure and a responsibility-- both usually carried out by the women. To me it only makes sense that we would continue to let women enrich our lives with their knowledge and skill in the kitchen, and they should receive the accolades they deserve. By following this creed and deciding to make this film it is to empower the new generation of women." 

As a vehicle for Anastasia to produce films in addition to acting, she started Aliana Productions in 2014 with business partner Joanna James. From as far back as she can remember Anastasia felt at home on stage. As a teen, she graced the stage in Shakespearean productions and took part in musical theater, which paved the way for her course of studies in classical theater at Suffolk University. In addition to her theatrical work, Anastasia has a number of television credits, in which some of her favorite include: Dexter, Parks and Recreation, Party Down, Desperate Housewives, CSI: New York, and a recurring role in HBO's True Blood. You may have also seen her brilliant turn as the office tart "Claire" in the award winning indie comedy Missed Connections. Anastasia is co-founder of Aliana Productions, an independent film, television, and multimedia production company out of New York City. 

We brought together a strong team of award winning editors, cinematographers and producers to make a documentary that will not only speak to the larger issue of women in the workforce today, but also create a visually aesthetic piece of art on how a meal unites people and the importance of a family legacy.

 Editor

Russell Greene is a film editor and director based in Brooklyn, NY.  From 2004 to 2012, he was editing partner with veteran documentary film editor, Angelo Corrao. Russell has edited eight feature films as well as numerous short films, commercials, web series and branded content films. He also edited all 60 episodes of the acclaimed web series MADE HERE. In addition to editing, he also wrote and directed the award-winning short film, Easy Street, which won Best Film at the Queens World FF, Nevada FF, Asheville Cinema Festival, Real To Reel FF, Fort Myers Beach FF and the Ferndale FF. Some of his credits include: 

• Famous Nathan (2014 Tribeca Film Festival, Best Film Award Coney Island FF)

• Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction (Venice FF, SXSW, LA FF, IDFA, Edinburgh FF, 92% on rottentomatoes.com)

• Ordinary Miracles (Directed by Academy Award nominee Nina Rosenblum, 83% on rottentomatoes.com)

• Hungry is the Tiger (Indonesian film about the world hunger crisis)

• Patti Smith: Dream of Life (Sundance Award for Cinematography, Emmy nominee)

• Nerakhoon: The Betrayal (Emmy Award, Academy Award nominee)

 Cinematographer

Katy Jordan is a cinematographer, writer and editor living in Boston. She primarily works in media and documentary film. A former print reporter for the Boston Herald, she is an award-winning multimedia journalist whose stories have ranged from crime to lifestyle to politics -- she has covered local and national political races, including the 2012 presidential campaign. Her work has been featured on local and national media outlets, including the Christian Science Monitor, Huffington Post and Storyhunter. She has a master's degree in journalism from Emerson College, where she currently serves as an adjunct professor of journalism.

Production Development

Max Osswald is an award winning, multi-platform entertainment producer, creator and entrepreneur with 10+ years of experience developing content for networks and brands, from Food Network and the History Channel to Izze Sodas and Delta Airlines. In 2010 he co-founded National Picture Show Entertainment (NPSE), which is currently a finalist for a 2015 James Beard Foundation Broadcast Media. He is currently and executive producer and managing member responsible for leading new business development, operations and production as well as creating, developing and pitching programming across commercial, film, digital and on-air platforms. A self-starter with a reputation for hands-on collaboration and straight shooting, Max has a passion for identifying and nurturing talent. He has a proven track record of business development, doubling revenues at NPSE every fiscal year since the company was founded.  He has produced multiple films, securing a range of distribution deals from theatrical, to cable to straight to DVD. 

Aligning Organizations

  • Women Chef and Restaurateurs
  • James Beard
  • Culinary Institute of America
  • Les Amis d'Escoffier Society

Why $60,000?

We are in the homestretch with production, but now in the second phase of filming these incredible chefs across the country, travel and a film crew are major expenses. We have already successfully shot principal photography at 6 locations throughout New England, Miami and New York. The money we raise on Kickstarter will cover the remaining costs of production and segue into post production, mostly editing conducted by a Tribeca Film Festival award winning editor who is extremely AWESOME, including some of the following costs:

  • Archival Footage
  • Animation/Illustrations
  • Awesome Rewards for the GREATEST Supporters EVER!
For any additional money raised beyond the $60,000, hoping beyond hope for closer to $85,000 that will go toward:
  • Sound Finishing
  • Original Score
  • Color Correction, HD Master
  • Titles and Graphics
And should the great muses inspire you all to give even more and we raise closer to $120,000, well not only are you amazing people but you will help us spread the word:
  • Film Festival Submission & Travel
  • Public Relations 
  • Press Kits, Posters and Promotions
  • Legal Fees & Insurance
So you can see that the $60,000 number will allow us to get started on post production, and make a killer trailer to continue to raise money, but there is still quite a ways to go. This is just the beginning in doing whatever is needed to make this very relevant film and share it with the masses! 

Risks and challenges

With every film project there are of course risks and challenges throughout the process. The most intricate challenge is completion and delivery of the film. Sometimes factors beyond our control come into play that may cause unforeseen delays. While it is our sincere desire and goal to have this film finished and ready to send out by Early 2016, at this point we cannot GUARANTEE this date. However, because you will be so connected with the project and our timeline you will be the first to know about any changes and will receive constant updates on the schedule and progress we are making.

Since we are so far along in completing the film, we face fewer risks than many films seeking funding on Kickstarter. Once the money is raised we will be able to move full-speed ahead to go into post-production work and then head straight for the film festivals.

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    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    Sweet—for the price of a latte you are supporting the making of a FILM! You get a public Thank You on our social media and we will like/follow you if you ask for it.

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    You're so great you get to see a sneak preview of the doc BEFORE ANYONE ELSE, a shout-out on our social media and a special thank you on the film's closing credits.

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    EARLY BIRD VALUE-- All Previous Perks plus a Digital Download of the film BEFORE ANYONE ELSE!

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    Your NAME will be listed on our website with an extra big air-hug and Thank You! Plus the digital download, social media shout-out, name on closing credits and some of *** Val's secret recipes****

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    Receive a DVD copy of the film, all the previous perks AND *** download of the film's soundtrack ***

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    Time to get stylishhhhh.... not only do you get all the previous perks but we're throwing in a super fashionable T-shirt that is worn on set... you'll technically look like you're in the film business

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    Not only are you SWEET, you're SMART! You will receive 2 AUTOGRAPHED DVDs of the film, one for you and one for that special someone... plus all the previous perks including an extra BIG Thank You on our social media, website and closing credits!

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    Now we're talking... One ticket to a Film Screening and Q&A with Director and Producers. This will include refreshments and hors d'oeuvres (travel not included)... Plus of course all previous perks!

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    Bring a date... or family... or imaginary friend
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    Not only TWO Tickets to a Film Screening, but we're throwing in a VIP Dinner with Director and Producers (travel not included)... plus a signed DVD!

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    TWO Tickets to Film Screening with VIP Dinner with Director and Producers... AND Celebrity Chef (travel not included) and a digital download of the Soundtrack, plus signed DVD and HAT!

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    Early Preview Screening in New York City with VIP Reception including Q&A with Director, Producers and the rest of the crew... Plus our fashionable hat, digital soundtrack, and two signed DVD copies of the film (travel not included)

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    You're so special you deserve pictures on the RED CARPET! Two tickets to the premier (whichever major city is more convenient for you). Rub shoulders with Hollywood types as well as Television Foodies and restaurateurs... Plus all previous perks! Travel/accommodations not included.

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    You're a super star so let us treat you like one! Not only pictures on the RED CARPET and TWO Tickets to the premier (whichever city is more convenient for you), but also a special dinner with the director, producers, Val and a few surprise VIP guests... Plus all previous perks! Travel/accommodations not included.

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    You've entered the movie business... You will be named an Associate Producer and a thank you on the credits of the film. Two tickets to the Premier or any other convenient venue, plus public Thank You during opening welcome speech and dance with us at the VIP Afterparty... Plus receive 5 signed DVDs of the film to give to family and friends... and dare we not include our most fashionable gear (hat/t-shirt)! Travel and accommodations not included.

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    Now you're HOLLYWOOD... It's official, you are a Co-Producer on our film and will be included on the film's credits and cast pictures... We will also sit with you over lunch in Boston, New York, or Miami (or Skype) to discuss shop, whether that's talking about movie ideas or hopes and aspirations in the business. Plus, two tickets to the premier of your choice, public thank you during the open welcome speech, and save a dance with us at the VIP Afterparty! Plus all the previous perks including our fashionable gear! Travel and accommodations not included.

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Funding period

- (30 days)